I'm giddy with delight - Tom Daley's coming out could herald a domino effect among public figures

But news media should take note of his choice of words. "Bi", not '"gay"

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The Independent Online

It happened a matter of hours ago and it's seemingly already the stuff of legend: Olympic idol Tom Daley, at the tender age of 19 and doubtless years before his career peak (take note, Gareth Thomas), has revealed he is in a relationship with a man.

In doing so, via an intimate and eloquent YouTube broadcast, wisely shunning TV deals and magazine covers in a world where the clinical coldness of dreaded PR interference clouds the truth of everything that matters, the brave teen made an admirable attempt at understatement. Inevitably, the reception looks set to be anything but - and in 2013, in a world where homosexual sex is still illegal in 69 countries, nor should it.

In fact, Tom's revelation has already highlighted some of the misconceptions around non heterosexuality in the UK, where the state of gay rights is comparatively healthy: as various knee jerk reactions pervaded, and news outlets and Twitter users raced to be the first to share the news in the neatest, most concise terms possible, many seemed to gloss over the fact the 2012 Bronze medal winner was not coming out as gay, but rather as bisexual. It would be shameful and ignorant to deny Tom's insistence that he's dated girls and may well again in the future for the sake of simplicity and speed.

In truth, Tom's considered words offer all the clarity on the matter we need, and at 19, he shines the light on the many men and women twice or three times his age in the worlds of sport, celebrity and beyond who do not share his gentle audacity. True, after years of speculation he was relentlessly denying he was anything but straight as recently as September, and in other circumstances this would make me incandescent with rage, but if anyone deserves time to come to terms with who and what they are, it's a teenager, and especially a teenager for whom the last five years have been a roller coaster ride: from sporting glory to losing his beloved father.

We've waited with baited breath for someone in Tom's position, a lone voice of unfettered fame and popularity, to take the plunge - and better still, the news has broken on the same day as US actress Maria Bello chose to reveal she is an a happy relationship with her (female) best friend. It's wishful thinking perhaps, but I truly believe a domino effect could be imminent where closeted public figures are concerned, and the potential positive consequences of this possibility leave me giddy with delight. If Tom, for all his boy next door appeal, proves to be the catalyst for all this, his decision to disclose his sexuality could prove to be one of the biggest deals ever - taking us one step closer to a world where sexuality really doesn't matter.